The Gooris family itself also seems to be bored to death in ‘Expeditie Gooris’ on VTM

When I used to be short of inspiration for the description of the human condition, I sometimes went to McDonald’s in Ninove. There, on that great island in the tarmac sea that separates Rental Cars Chavatte from La Lorraine, I found enough gloom between two nuggets to turn the clearest sky jet black. Presumably the broadcasting schedule of VTM is established in a similar way. A short survey about a billiards, a poll among Crocs wearers, conducted by a broadcaster bobo in a Beerschot shirt: ‘And golle, what did golle na gère see?’ I don’t consider myself better, I know the places and they know me.

Frederick De Backer

Again and again the heirs appear Verdrengh-Depraetere intent on imagining even the poorest TV station as the dining room of Magritte, where genius drips from the walls between soup, chips and an occasional nugget, next to the draughty hall where VTM is scratching the mud off the soles. ‘Family’ is not yet on the tile or ‘Tiny House Battle’ comes crumbling again.

VTM: television for those who do not like television.

Bearing this in mind, production house Banijay put together a second season of ‘Expedition Gooris’ last autumn, a program that can be summarized as travel for those who do not like to travel. After sliding through Europe last year, the fairground clan is dragging itself through the United States this time, in this first episode specifically through Los Angeles, the Blankenberge of California – we’ve already had that. Whoever wants to learn something, better stay at home, unless it had to be the fact that son Kenji played baseball for three more years. Well, not everyone travels to learn, recovering as the four have to live off the shirt collar after another year of varying. Even the foursome themselves seem bored to death. It just rambles around and the little effort that is made invariably seems to be whispered by a cameraman, preceded by the words: ‘Say, and do you like this?’

Isn’t there any reason to watch? Anyway. Banal as the pursuits may be, at least what you see is real. At no point do you get the feeling that someone is playing a part, not even when progenitor Sam comes into the picture, for whom every scrap of ground under his feet is a new stage. The man doesn’t play an entertainer like so many other guys do; entertainment is the marrow in his bones. Kelly Pfaff genuinely seems like a good mother, the children are well brought up, and at all times you feel togetherness and affection. People also love in Blankenberge.

Of course I’d rather be shown around by something Stephen Fry or Michael Palinbut such a person is not allowed on the screen in Flanders, unless once on Canvas, panted all evening by a wagging Thomas Vanderveken. And to be honest, if people asked me which compatriot I would like to see a travel program hung on, then Sam Gooris was in the top ten, perhaps somewhere between Mark Uytterhoeven, Hugo Matthysen and what is left of William Elsschot in. Sam Gooris is completely alone on Rottumerplaat for a week, with no one but the seagulls to pour his dialect over. Bomans returned in a coffin, but Sam is sure to elicit some insight from it that would not displease the pellicule

The beauty in ‘Expeditie Gooris’ lies in a sentence like: ‘We (Sam and Kelly, ed.) will have time later to do things together, we choose to do as much as possible with you now.’ Simple, but therefore not banal.

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